10 Apr 2003

Tongan government wants more time to reply to newspaper ban challenge

3:51 pm on 10 April 2003

The Tongan government has asked for more time before it replies to a letter from the Taimi O Tonga newspaper's lawyer, who had protested at the latest ban on the paper.

The lawyer, Dr Rodney Harrison, had asked the government to immediately rescind the ban, to demonstrate respect and compliance with the rule of law.

Last week, the Tongan Privy Council imposed the ban despite a court ruling that three previous bans on the paper were illegal and unconstitutional.

The Taimi's publisher, Kalafi Moala, says the government's lawyer has since made contact but says the government is not yet able to respond to the points raised by Dr Harrison.

"They're still needing time because there has not been any instruction yet received from government which basically means that they're still reading on it and are still mulling over the letter and are yet to make a decision."

Kalafi Moala.